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Ask the White House - 2005 Guests Ask the White House Archives
November 28, 2005 | 1:20 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Ivan, from school:
who is the attorney general of the united states?

A: Tasia Scolinos, Director of Communications, Department of Justice:
Alberto R. Gonzales was sworn in as the nation's 80th Attorney General on February 3, 2005. The Attorney General is the nation's chief law enforcement officer, represents the United States in legal matters, and gives advice and opinions to the President and to the heads of the executive departments of the Government when requested. In matters of exceptional importance the Attorney General appears in person before the Supreme Court. Congress established the Department of Justice as an executive department of the government in 1870. Since that time, the Attorney General has guided the world's largest law office and the central agency for enforcement of federal laws.

Attorney General Gonzales is the former White House Counsel to President Bush, and also served as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas. He was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Houston. He is a graduate of Texas public schools, Rice University, and Harvard Law School. He served in the United States Air Force and attended the United States Air Force Academy. He and his wife, Rebecca, have three sons.

November 18, 2005 | 11:35 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Dennis, from Sierra Vista, Arizona:
I am interested in finding the 2004 or 2005 version of the National Security Strategy. Is this document available to the general public and/or accessible via the internet?

Colby Cooper A: Colby Cooper, Director for Communications and Media Relations, National Security Council:
Dennis, President Bush released his second term National Security Strategy (NSS) last Thursday, March 16, 2006. You can access this document at If you are interested in reading his first term NSS you can access it at I also draw your attention to a speech that Steve Hadley, the President's National Security Advisor, gave on March 16, 2006. Mr. Hadley's remarks highlighted the President's 2006 NSS, which explains how the Administration is working to protect the American people, advance American interests, enhance global security, and expand global liberty and prosperity.

October 6, 2005 | 4:05 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Kristy, from Ferndale, Washington:
How does one get into the chat session? All I see are archives of past sessions but no indication of how to access the live chat. Thank-you.

David Almacy A: David Almacy, White House Internet Director:
Kristy, thanks for the question and for your interest in Ask the White House. In fact, April 16, 2006 marks the three year anniversary of this popular interactive feature where almost 350 guests have answered your questions. We typically host two to three chats a week depending on the President's events and the issues of the day. In order to accommodate the schedules of our guests, times and days for chats often vary. Therefore, I encourage you to check the White House website every morning. We usually promote upcoming chats on the front page, as well as, on the "Ask the White House" main page. We look forward to your future participation!

September 14, 2005 | 3:53 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Colleen Sullivan, from New York, NY:
Why was the White House originally named "The White House"?

Bill Allman A: Bill Allman, White House Curator:
The executive residence has been white since 1798. Scottish stonemasons were hired to build and carve the sandstone walls. Painters then covered the walls in 1798 with a whitewash to keep water and ice from seeping inside the walls and breaking them apart. The names "President's House" and "Executive Mansion" were used to refer to the building formally, such as for stationery and engraved silver serving pieces, but newspapers began referring to the building as the "White House" as early as 1809. President Theodore Roosevelt made the "White House" the official name of the president's home and office in 1901.

August 7, 2005 | 12:12 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Heather, from Arvada, Colorado:
I was wondering where I can find the law to No Child Left Behind?

Secretary Margaret Spellings A: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education:
Heather, thanks for you interest in the No Child Left Behind Act. The text of the law is available on the Department of Education’s website at: Also, you might want to look at the document, “Facts and Terms Every Parent Should Know About NCLB,” which is available on the Department’s website at:

June 19, 2005 | 8:57 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Lauren-Nicole, from Chillicothe, Ohio:
I have recently heard that President Bush is considering privatizing social security. I am not positve if he plans to do this but I think he should not even be thinking of this at all because in doing this it is almost like a poker game there is no guarantees on whether you'll win with it.

NAME A: Chuck Blahous, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy:
Thank you for your question. The President does not favor privatizing Social Security. Social Security will continue to operate as it always has, providing checks to today's seniors, as well as to millions of future retirees.

Instead, the President has noted that we must together take action to fix Social Security so that is strong for our children and grandchildren. As the Social Security Trustees have demonstrated, the program is not sound for young workers under the current law. The Baby Boomers begin to retire in just a few years, and by the time today's young workers retire, there will be only two workers to support each person on Social Security. The Trustees have further found that, unless the program is fixed, the program will be insolvent before today's young workers retire.

One reform that the President would like to see is for younger workers to have the voluntary opportunity to save some of their Social Security money in a personal account. Note that this is very different from "privatizing" Social Security. Such a personal account would be a purely voluntary choice. Under the current Social Security system, workers pay taxes into Social Security, and the government spends the money. President Bush believes that workers will have greater retirement security if they are permitted to save a portion of their payroll taxes in a personal account. When workers retire, therefore, they would have a nest egg that the government could never take away. And if they pass away before retirement, they could leave behind an inheritance to their loved ones, something that they cannot do now.

Again, these personal accounts would be entirely voluntary. The biggest gamble is heading into retirement without any savings. Instead, those with personal accounts would have the opportunity to build a nest egg for retirement, and a chance to have greater retirement benefits than the current Social Security system will be able to pay.

Personal accounts are not "privatization." "Privatization" is a word that is used to try to scare seniors into believing that something bad will happen to their Social Security benefits. President Bush's proposals would strengthen Social Security for our children and grandchildren.

June 9, 2005 | 9:03 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Flor, from Miami, Florida:
My son just graduated from high school this month and will be attending Florida International University. I also have two other nieces who are attending FIU. As you can imagine, the cost of keeping these students at the university is quite expensive. I have been searching the Internet to find scholarships for them to apply for but am concerned that some may not be ethical or real scholarships. Would you please guide me to a trusted Internet site that lists the different types of scholarships available?

Thank you.

Secretary Margaret Spellings A:Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education:
Flor, thanks for your question. I am glad to hear that your son is pursuing a higher education. And, as a mother of a college freshman, I know that college is very expensive. Here are two websites where you can search for scholarships that are available as well as other information on financial aid: and I hope you find these websites helpful and I wish your son much success in his studies.

May 27 2005 | 12:58 a.m. (EDT)

Q: Emily from Granite Bay:
Dear Mr. President, I have alwys been interested in politics. I was wondering if the White House ever takes interns. If so, where can I get more information on this topic?

Ann Gray A: Ann Gray, White House Intern Coordinator:
The White House Internship Program offers an excellent opportunity to serve our President and explore public service. We are seeking exceptional candidates to apply for this highly competitive program. In addition to normal office duties, interns attend weekly lectures, tours, and complete an intern service project. Interns may serve a term in the Fall, Spring, or Summer. All candidates must be 18 years of age, hold United States citizenship, and be enrolled in a college or university. The Fall, 2005 application deadline is July 1, 2005.

Please see the White House Intern Website for additional information: /government/wh-intern.html.

Thanks for your interest. I look forward to hearing from you.

May 25 2005 | 7:16 a.m. (EDT)

Q: Immeke from Edgewater, NJ:
Everyone seems to focus only on the emotional side of the Stem Cell Research Bill. But whether you are for or against it, what about the FISCAL side of it?

Why does government (which means us taxpayers) have to FUND it? Seems to me, we don't have the money. Why isn't anyone talking about THAT side of the Bill?

Claude A. Allen A: Claude A. Allen, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy:
Clearly federal resources devoted to medical research need to be allocated in a careful and informed way to ensure they go where they can do the most good and that we are spending taxpayer dollars responsibly. This means not only that we are not wasteful with public money, though that is crucially important, but also that we recognize that in spending taxpayer funds we are making a significant statement of approval on behalf of the American people. That's why President Bush took the issue of taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research so seriously, and why he sought and found a way to use such funding responsibly: to advance research that may have medical potential while holding to the clear and important moral principle that government should never support the destruction of human life for research.

Since that decision was made, in August of 2001, the Administration has spent over $50 million on embryonic stem cell research pursued within moral bounds, and has spent some $1.7 billion on other ethical stem cell research, including animal research as well as work using cells from children, adults, and umbilical cord blood that have already shown real results in treating patients. President Bush is strongly committed to advancing medical research, and has seen to it that the doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget to $29 billion has been completed by his Administration.

By insisting that medical progress be guided by ethical rules, the President is working to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used responsibly, and that an age of great medical breakthroughs also be a time of high moral standards. This is the essence of his policy on embryonic stem cell research funding, and of his firm support for science and medicine more broadly.

May 1 2005 | 2:32 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Candis from Asheville, North Carolina:
I was wondering who was on President Bush's cabinet. People like Secretary of State,Secretary of Agricutlture, etc. Thank you!

Heidi Marquez Smith A: Heidi Marquez Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison:
Candis, thank you for your question. The President's Cabinet includes the Vice President, the White House Chief of Staff, the heads of 15 executive departments, and the heads of four Cabinet-level rank offices. Every day these Cabinet Members carry out countless responsibilities that help protect our homeland, maintain critical services, ensure economic growth, and strengthen our national security. These individuals serve our citizens and help make our government more efficient and effective. For more information on the President’s Cabinet and their respective agencies please visit the Cabinet page located in the "Your Government" section of the White House Website: /government/cabinet.html.

April 1 2005 | 10:04 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Kevin from Stoughton, MA 02072:

Mr President,

With the price of oil at an all-time high and the effect it is having on the economy, why not curtail filling the Strategic Oil Reserve for a while and let the law of supply and demand go to work for you as your father did in the early 90's?

Otherwise, keep up the good work and Let Freedom Ring!

Secretary Bodman A: Secretary Bodman, Secretary of Energy:
After September 11, President Bush directed the Secretary of Energy to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

The SPR is vital to our national security and filling it is necessary to maximize protection for American consumers and our economy against severe oil supply disruptions, which could result from a variety of events, including natural disasters, industrial accidents, and terrorist attacks.

April 1 2005 | 4:01 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Tina from Roseville, Minnesota:
My question is a detail oriented one. I am writing a public policy paper on education funding. I am looking for the date that the President either wrote or announced his proposed FY 2006 Federal Budget for Education. I can't seem to find it anywhere on the Web.

Margaret Spellings A: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education:
On February 7, 2005, the President released his proposed 2006 budget for the U.S. Department of Education. The $56 billion budget request, representing a 33% or $13.8 billion increase since he took office, reaffirms President Bush’s strong commitment to reforming education. Taxpayer dollars will be directed to where student need is the greatest, including increases to assist states and school districts with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the budget exercises fiscal discipline by focusing on programs that work. More information regarding the President’s budget proposal, and No Child Left Behind, may be found at:

March 30 2005 | 7:31 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Chris from Chesterfield, Missouri:
I often hear the press reports from Pebble Beach at the White House. What and where is Pebble Beach?

Nicolle Devenish A: Nicolle Devenish, Assistant to the President for Communications:
Located just outside the West Wing lobby and the press briefing room, network and affiliate television correspondents use this area which provides an ideal backdrop for “stand-ups” while they report on the White House. However, due to its constant use over the years, the spot was often muddy and it became increasingly more difficult to maintain the grass on this part of the lawn. In 1998, the White House installed honeycomb grating and gravel to create “Pebble Beach”. Last summer, “Stonehenge” emerged as another nickname for the spot when the area was paved over with concrete.

March 14 2005 | 11:46 p.m.(EDT)

Q: Kevin from Berea kentucky:
What are the major steps that the bush administration is doing to fight major incresae of drugs in society?

Ambassador John Walters A: Ambassador John Walters, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
This Administration has made significant progress in the fight against drugs, using a balanced approach emphasizing prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. President Bush laid out clear and ambitious goals in this area: a 10 percent reduction in teen drug over two years, and a 25 percent reduction over five years. We're pleased to report that with a 17 percent reduction in teen drug use over the past three years, we've exceeded the two year goal and are well on our way to the five year target. That means there are over 600,000 fewer teens using drugs now than there were in 2001.

February 24, 2005 | 12:07 a.m. (EDT)

Q: Melissa from Beaverton, OR:
Who is your photographer and do they stay with you 24/7?

Eric Draper A: Eric Draper, White House Photo Director:
The President has a staff of photographers that cover both his official and private events. I am the Director and Photographer in Charge of the White House Photo Office. When I am not there, I will assign one of his three staff photographers to cover Presidential events including official First Lady events. There is also a fifth photographer assigned to the Vice President.

February 24, 2005 | 12:32 a.m.(EDT)

Q: Austin from Big Rapids, Michigan:
I'm an 18-year-old college student at Ferris State University, and a big fan of the Bush administration. As I'm sure everyone working for the Whitehouse knows, college can get pretty expensive, and on the subject of young people's personal expenses, I was wondering if you could translate the conditions of the new social-security program into my generations terms.

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